Chris and Mary Kraft, owners of Kraft Family Dairies, LLC in Colorado won the 2018 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Award in the dairy category. The announcement was made during the BQA Awards presentation at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix.
The Kraft family owns two dairies in the Fort Morgan, Colo., where they milk a total of 5,600 cows with their son Stratton. Badger Creek Farm houses the special needs cows that need to be watched more closely. The cows that don’t need as much monitoring are housed at Quail Ridge Dairy. The two farms ship between 480,000 to 510,000 lb. of milk per day.
Their facilities were designed for low stress handling and movement of cattle.
“The idea is that the cow never has to stop going any place and wait for anyone else. We have two way traffic as the cows travel to and from the dairy barn,” Mary says.
Cows move quietly between the barns and parlors. Having the two separate alleys for movement stops yelling and chasing that some employees might have used to handle cows. Mary says this has limited any injuries to cows on the farm.
Employee training happens regularly to ensure that low stress handling principles are utilized.
The free stall barns are bedded with compost. Bedding is changed every Monday.
“Everybody sleeps better when you make your bed at home,” Stratton says. “Our cows sleep better and produce better, as do our calves, when they have a fresh bed.”
Mary and Chris have both been active in leadership roles within the livestock industry. Mary is a past president of the Colorado Livestock Association. Chris is currently a board member for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and sits on the board of directors for the Dairy Farmers of America.
“Our goal is excellence at all times and in all things. We try to be good with our people, very good with our cattle and very good with the land and the environment,” Chris says. “We’re always learning. We can always do better, but we think we’ve done pretty good so far.”
NMPF, administrators of the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care Program, praised the Krafts for their commitment to BQA and FARM principles.
“Both Chris and Mary are passionate advocates for quality milk production and never waver from their commitment to make sure the cows on their farms are content, comfortable and well cared for,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “They are well deserving of this prestigious award.”
NMPF and its FARM program partner with NCBA and BQA to ensure that animal welfare practices work for both the dairy and beef industries.
“We’re proud of our ongoing partnership with the BQA program, and appreciate their recognition of one of our leading FARM Program participants with this award,” said Emily Meredith, NMPF chief of staff. “This award demonstrates that, through collaboration and outreach, producers can be recognized for the work they do in upholding industry standards and their participation in programs like FARM.”
For more on the Kraft family watch the following video: